How to Stay Healthy with a Hectic Schedule
Holistic Nutritionist and Wellness Coach Maria Marlowe shares her time-saving tips.
One of the most common obstacles to healthy eating? Not enough time. The funny thing is, we all have the same amount of hours in the day—it’s our priorities that largely dictate what we do with them. No matter how busy life gets, there is always time for eating and living healthily. After all, you probably need all the help you can get in keeping your energy high, mind clear (no brain fog!) and your mood happy! Here are my tips to maximize your time, so you can stay healthy despite a hectic schedule:
Shop online for groceries
If you resort to takeout as the answer to not having enough time to grocery shop, consider switching most, if not all, of your grocery shopping online. With a few simple clicks, you can order in ten minutes or less and your items will be delivered right to your door (no schlepping necessary). Another benefit? If you shop at the right places, you will likely save money when compared to typical grocery store prices (and definitely compared to a daily diet of takeout!). A personal favorite is Thrive Market, which operates as a cross between Amazon, Whole Foods and Costco. For a membership fee of $60/year, you get healthy groceries at wholesale prices (20-50% off). I’ve calculated that it’s saving me over $1,000 year! While Thrive currently only sells non-perishable items, other regional sites allow you to order anything, including seafood and vegetables. AmazonFresh and Instacart are great options, as well as FreshDirect, for East Coasters.
Eat veggies at every meal, no matter where you are
Aim to fill your lunch and dinner plate 50% with vegetables, and you will already be making significant steps in the right direction—regardless of what is on the other half of the plate. If your lifestyle involves eating out a lot for work, there are a few things you can do: suggest a restaurant with better-for-you-options, combine a few side dishes or appetizers to make up that 50% portion and if you are stuck somewhere without a lot of veggies on the menu, simply ask what they could offer you,
off the menu.
Keep a “real food” snack stash
If you’re eating well-balanced meals, you will probably find you don’t have the urge to snack. If you do have that desire, make sure to choose the stuff that’s going to satisfy you and keep your brain working productively. Keep a stash of whole, raw almonds, coconut chips or a fruit bowl in the office to help prevent a vending machine cookie run. If you find you have sugar cravings, I recommend these chewy almond date cookies (with no refined sugar!) or these chocolate date truffles.
Batch cooking is a huge timesaver during the week. You can prepare your lunches in advance (like these quick Mason Jar Salads) and do the same for dinners and breakfasts, too. It takes just an hour or two on the weekend to pre-cook time-consuming recipes for grains, beans, soups or veggies, so that during the week, you simply have to reheat in order to have dinner on the table in 20 minutes or less. Don’t think this means you have to eat the same thing for a whole week straight. If planned right, you can mix and match meals and sauces to create different entrees everyday. (For more guidance and a done-for-you meal plan, check out my EatHEALTHY program.)
Schedule in 30 minutes of exercise
No need to spend a whole precious hour at the gym; just 30 minutes a day is sufficient. Don’t have a 30-minute block to spare? How about a 15-minute walk after lunch and another one after dinner? You can also take walking meetings or phone calls. You may find the fresh air sparks more ideas and better conversations. Remember, if you’re hangry, tired and experiencing brain fog, then you probably won’t be as productive as you could be. So, make the time to fit in healthy habits and you may just find that you end up with more hours in the day!
Images courtesy of Maria Marlowe and Ivanka Trump